The Rendon Group issued a press release last night in attempt to clear up inaccurate reporting in regards to its role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most recently the profiling of journalists seeking embed positions on behalf of Pentagon public affairs.
There are three complaints of inaccuracy:
1) Inaccuracy: Rendon was responsible for “selling” the Iraq war, and had no role shaping U.S. public opinion in the run-up to the conflict.
The release says that Rendon Group had no relationship with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) or Ahmad Chalabi, and points out that a Pentagon Inspector General found no evidence to support claims made by an award-winning Rolling Stone article from 2005. The DoD found that Rendon’s 46 work orders with them at that time did not “deliberately create conditions that would convince the American people and congress that Iraq was an imminent threat.”
SourceWatch.org’s entry on Rendon notes the many connections to the CIA, INC, and Chalabi, though after the first war in Iraq.
More after the jump:
2) Inaccuracy: The Rendon Group was involved with “an effort to have Iraqi publications print articles written by military personnel.” (Washington Post)
Rendon is correct. That tactic was conducted by the Lincoln Group, as correctly reported by the New York Times, ABC, and and LA Times.
3) Inaccuracy: The Rendon Group rated journalists for the US Department of Defense.
The explanation here minces around the issue, noting “There is no evidence to support a charge that we directly or indirectly screened or contributed to the creation of a blacklist.” As far as I can see, no MSM report characterized the profiling as a means to create a blacklist, or used the word. The release cites USA Today’s reporting, which only quotes military sources, backing up the claims that the profiles as partial sources to deny two journalists for reasons of inaccuracy and the release of classified information.
More on this story as it develops. It’s clear if you read the many exposÃ©s about the Rendon Group, the fight isn’t about just the $1.5 million contract lost last week but the firm’s ability to work with the Pentagon in the future. The firm billed $56 million since 2001 alone. If Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen practices what he preaches, that flow of cash could run dry, at least in the short term.